Located in the heartland of Tanzania, Dodoma is the nation’s official political capital and the seat of government in the country. Comparably, it is much smaller and less developed than the country’s commercial center, Dar es Salaam.
Dodoma remains a center for national politics. Situated on the eastern edge of the southern highlands, the city of Dodoma is surrounded by a rich agricultural area and pleasant scenery. Dodoma has many places and items of interest to recommend to the passing visitor. It is the center of Tanzania’s growing wine industry and the Tanganyika Vineyards Company is active in promoting its products.
Historically, Dodoma was a stopover on the overland caravan route that travelled from the Swahili Coast inland toward Lake Tanganyika. Early in the 20th century, the city became a major point on the Central Line railway, which carried agricultural crops for export to the harbor in Dar es Salaam. In recent times, the town’s economic base has declined in favor of the coastal city, but in the early days of Tanzanian independence, there was a popular political motion to move the entire government to the town in the southern highlands. These days, the government legislature meets in Dodoma, and divides its time between the inland city and Dar es Salaam on the coast.
The bustling town of Kigoma is the regional capital of western Tanzania and a central port in the area. Located on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, Kigoma is surrounded by rugged mountains and forests that make it a pleasing and beautiful location.
In the past, Kigoma has been in competition with nearby Ujiji, but over the last decades Kigoma has gained a strong economic foothold in the region and its port is of central importance to the activities of the area.
Historically, the town was the final stop of the Central Line railway, built in the 20th century to transport agricultural goods from the African hinterland to the East African Coast. The town makes a good overland base for visits and chimpanzee safaris to both Gombe Stream National Park and Mahale Mountains National Park.
Kigoma is at the end of road B381, leaving the national road B8 at Kasulu. Roads are passable and steadily being improved. Traversing the country takes 3-4 days.
The ancient MV Liemba, built in 1913 by Germans, still plays up and down Lake Tanganyika between Kigoma and Mpulungu on the southern shores of the lake in Zambia, stopping at several cities along the coast. There are both first, second and third class onboard.
TO SEE AROUND KIGOMA:
- Ujiji, the nearby former Arab slave trading settlement, the famous meeting place of Stanley and Livingstone.
- Gombe National Park for chimpanzee viewing
- Lake Tanganyika
The sleepy town of Tabora, in the hinterland of western Tanzania, remains a key transit point in the country. The Central Line railway branches at Tabora to both Kigoma and Mwanza, and visitors travelling by train often use Tabora as a stopover point during their journeys.
The regions around Tabora are famous throughout Tanzania for the honey they produce, and large jerry cans and bottles of the famous liquid can be bought in the village market.
Historically, Tabora was once a major trading point and stopover for caravans that connected Lake Tanganyika and Central Africa with the coastal town of Bagamoyo to the northeast. Its former importance is illustrated by the fact that the infamous trader Tippu Tip, who lived during the 19th century, made Tabora the center of his vast trading empire of ivory and slaves. The town was also an important mission station during early European exploration of Tanzania. Stanley and Livingstone both stopped here on their journeys. During the German occupation, Tabora was one of the most populated and prosperous towns in the whole of East Africa.
Songea was the centre of Majimaji rebellion in German East Africa in 1905 to 1907; it has been marked as the strongest colonial resistance in East Africa. Songea is named after a great chief of Ngoni ancestry. Songea has been identified by its rich tourist’s attractions, mainly cultural heritage, historical sites, Majimaji museums and several breathtaking sceneries.